Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ever heard of Robbie Rogers?

Tim Craycraft

In recent years we have been experiencing a new phenomena to sports writing, covering gay athletes. We have read and heard the inspirational stories about athletes such as Michael Sam and Jason Collins. Michael Sam was the first gay athlete in the National Football league while Jason Collins was the first gay athlete in the NBA. I remember in 2013 when Jason Collins came out in an article by Sports Illustrated that he was cited as the first gay athlete in professional team sports.

Last fall I was watching the MLS Cup between the New England Revolution and the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Galaxy won in extra time and the games was as good as you can ask for when it comes to MLS caliber soccer. In this match the Galaxy featured a winger by the name of Robbie Rogers.

Courtesy of zimbio.com
I recently remember seeing a commercial that featured a soccer player from the Los Angeles Galaxy, Robbie Rogers. Rogers was being featured on the commercial because he was an openly gay athlete in America. When I saw the commercial I immediately thought two things -- "Oh, I remember him"-- followed by-- "How in the world did I not know he was gay?" I thought this because it blew my mind that I had no idea there was an openly gay footballer in Major League Soccer.

Rogers had played in the MLS with the Columbus Crew from 2007-2011 before he had come out. He then moved to play for Leeds United in England. Rogers came out in February of 2013 and simultaneously retired. He thought there was no way a gay man could last in professional football. A few months later in April, Jason Collins came out. The very next week Rogers agreed to terms with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

You have probably heard of Jason Collins, but Robbie Rogers maybe not. I consider myself someone who is very up to date with the world of professional sports and I had no clue who he was. This could probably be accredited to the popularity of soccer in America but still I find it hard to believe. The national media was all over Jason Collins, a very below average player in the NBA at the time. Michael Sam talk was endless as well and he was a good college football player but his chances of making an NFL roster were slim. ROBBIE ROGERS HAS BEEN A PART OF TWO CHAMPIONSHIPS AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF PROFESSIONAL SOCCER IN THE UNITED STATES.

When it comes to role models for gay athletes Robbie Rogers leads the pack. Somehow he has flown under the radar and it blows my mind. Rogers goes to work everyday and does his job just like everyone else on the team. Jason Collins' career was pretty much over and Michael Sam was cut from both St Louis and Dallas. Robbie Rogers actually plays which is way different than what the former two athletes did. Rogers deserves your respect and recognition America.

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